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Wednesday, 26 October 2016

A CRITICAL ANALYSIS OF PRODUCTION TECHNIQUES WITH THE AIM OF CONVEYING FEELING THROUGH MUSIC PRODUCTION

INTRODUCTION

The perception and notion of music is widely varied across time and cultures. Nevertheless,
music, as defined by Nettl (2005, cited in Juslin & Sloboda, 2001) is at its most fundamental,


generally agreed to be the art of combining sounds, a form of communication, and a set of

physiological processes.

Research has proved that music affects or relates to emotion Nettl (2005). To validate this,
Scherer (2000, cited in Juslin & Sloboda, 2001) has shown how different design features in


production produces certain emotional effects. He explains that, “The emotion experienced by

the listener whilst listening to music is determined by a multiplicative function consisting of

several factors, which are a sum of structural, performance, listener and contextual features”.

Paul Clarke confirms that, “As early as the late fifties, in rock music, double-tracking in

combination with dubbing techniques, was being used to create musical experiences which had

been previously inconceivable” (1983).

A song (recorded music) is a layout of an individual’s interpretation of an experience. More so,

the ‘right’ feeling and energy (emotional response) as conceived by the producer during the

process of music production helps him to judge the effect his music will have on listeners.

(Howlett, 2012). Hence, music can be properly understood when the meaning to the listener

matches the meaning intended by the producer – when the listener and producer in a way, share

similar feelings. (Inskip and others, 2007).

In order for music to achieve the purpose for which it was created, the producer needs to ensure

that his artistic intent is well communicated through his expertise in manipulating audio

technologies to achieve the desired sonic output. Hence, the perception of immediacy by the

listener is of utmost importance to the producer – who must achieve his aims through analytical

listening; “which is the process by which the significance of musical elements is judged. It is an

analysis of sonic characteristics in the context of the intended meaning. This includes how each

element (lyrics, orchestration, signal processing) interrelates to create a cohesive presentation”

(Moylan, 1992 and 2002). In essence, “the audio professional needs to evaluate sound for its

aesthetic and artistic elements and its perceived parameters, as they exist in critical listening and

analytical listening applications and at all levels of perspective” Moylan (2002).

Having gone through the rigours of different audio production and research practice modules in

this course, I will say, I have been groomed well enough to embark on this final individual

project. Gaining the admission to pursue a Masters degree in Music Production as a Nigerian

female is record-breaking for me, my country and the continent of Africa. I say so because, I

have been contacted by a lecturer in the Music department of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka,

Dr. Stella Nadis, who is writing a paper on female sound engineers. This contact made me to

understand that I am the very first Nigerian woman to study music production at Masters level,

more so, in a prestigious tertiary institution as Leeds Beckett University. From my personal

research, I observe that this extends to the whole of Africa. Dr Stella Nadis and other prominent

Nigerian producers are looking forward to having my consent and input to start up Nigeria’s first

Music Production Department in the University of Nigeria. Hence, I have been advised to

research further into music production by moving on to a PhD in Music Production.
RECORDING PROJECTS

Carrying out my final project opened a world of new discoveries to me as I was compelled to

stretch my production skills beyond my usual capabilities. I initially intended to work with a

group of people, but discovered that this was a little bit distracting for me. Besides, it was a huge

and unnecessary burden to get everyone to the studio; as people are involved in work and other

time demanding activities. The merit within this disadvantage is that I was able to focus more on

my innate abilities and develop them beyond my set limits.

I was to record a worship medley, a reggae instrumental track with background vocals and do a

remix of the ‘Imela’ song recorded during the earlier modules of this course. But the course of

things changed during the research phase of the project. Because I wanted to maximize my

potentials as a music producer and give myself more opportunities to deal with the issues raised

by my supervisors on my previous work regarding immediacy, communication and balance, I

decided to analyze and produce two worship songs and one reggae track by a renowned Gospel

artiste. Noel Robinson: ‘I Worship and Adore You,’ ‘More and More of You’ and We Cry

Hosanna. To practice more and improve my mixing skills, I mixed the ‘Imela’ song again for a

better and balanced sound.
PRODUCTION PHASE

In an attempt to understand the dynamics that created the reference tracks I listened to; in order
to do a remixed production, a study of the suggested models in Musicological Forensics (subheading)


by Carter (2006, cited in Davies, 2008) gave a good background as to how to be a

musical detective – capturing the sonic, musical and aesthetic characteristics of the recorded

context. By listening to my reference track, I aimed at investigating and detecting sound sources

and their qualities. This gave me a good idea of instruments used and the effects applied on

them. As stated by Moylan (2002), “analytical reasoning in music listening is the ability to relate

immediate listening experience to knowledge, in a manner capable of deducing meaningful

observation and information”.

More so, my knowledge of the Logic Pro X DAW has improved to a high level; as I am now

able to easily locate required sounds from instrument libraries and easily shape them to the actual

timbre I want, using appropriate technology to make the recording as close as possible to what I

hear on the reference track. Being a musician and multi-instrumentalist simplifies the rest of the

production work.

Going by Moylan (2007), “The recordist can bring artistery to the recording by learning the

recording process well enough to use it creatively, by learning the sound qualities of the

instruments of the recording studio (recording equipment and technologies), and learning all of

the possible ways the recording process and devices can transform sound. These will give the

recordist the tool set needed to control how the recording shapes sound. Recording aesthetics and

the planned qualities of the recording will shape the production process. Skill in performing the

mix relies on knowledge of the technologies being used in the signal chain, on the mastery of the

equipment and software usage and the interface points of the signal chain, and on dexterity with

the technologies of creatively using these devices and technologies to craft the mix.”

From the above mentioned, one can deduce that, “A state of art recording requires not just a

talented performer or the practical application of certain theoretical techniques but the scientific

side of things (adjusting frequencies, mixing and remixing) cannot be overlooked” (Clarke,

1983).
SONG 1: “More and More of You”

This is a powerful worship song with a guitar lick intro which was consistent for most parts of

my own version of the song. I did not use an actual electric guitar to generate the sound. I shaped

the sound by using the Hard Rock guitar provided by the Logic Pro X. This was accompanied by

an Acoustic Guitar (digital). The crafting of the rhythm section of the song revealed a lot of drum

secrets to me; as I was engaged in critical listening like never before. Because I am not a

drummer, I had to research into the parts of the drum. This helped me to know the names and

sounds of the drum elements.

This project also gave me an insight into how percussions are used. In this song, I applied some

sticks, cabasa and shakers alongside the wide array of drum elements.

The only live element captured was the voice, using the U87 microphone. I sang the lead and

backup lines. It was intentional that I did not do any live recording of instruments. This was to

enable me explore the digital technologies and the extent to which they can be used to achieve different sonic expectations.

 
 

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